Statement of Work

This blog started as a rage against the misuse of the word artisanal. As anyone interested in American craft knows, this word has been bastardized by corporations to the detriment of true artisans honing real skills. It should only be used for handcrafted items, and I thought this blog was a way to protect that usage.

Wrong. That ship has sailed. Long ago.

I found I had more to say as a practitioner of craft than as a gadfly of language. I’m an urbanite practicing a craft that depends largely on rural capacity to raise, produce, and market my raw materials. I can’t even find most of what I need in the Chicago area. I must go rural. And much like the city kid who suddenly realizes where her food comes from, I’ve found great benefit in knowing what makes my yarn possible.

The Internet makes this rural dependency easy to ignore. What can’t you buy online? I could easily purchase everything I need in a few faceless transactions every year.

But spinning is tactile. It’s present. It’s immediate. It’s not a craft of intangibles. I could buy my fleece online or I could go out and get my boots dirty. I could–gasp–leave the city.

While this flipped dichotomy is not wholly unique (again, think of food production), it is unusual in a modern landscape that provides almost everything for the urban consumer within a few minutes.

The intersections of these flipped worlds–the urban handspinner and the rural materials producer–is what interests me. Towards that end, this blog will never be about my latest project. You won’t read details about why I only knit 8 rows last night. You won’t get updates on my latest random thoughts. What you will get are articles that touch on and around the relationship between urban practitioners of an ancient craft and rural producers of the raw materials we use.

It seems to me this is a largely contemporary phenomenon worth thinking and writing about. I hope you’ll join me.

2 thoughts on “Statement of Work

  1. I, too, have been noticing the disconnections. Not as one who works with materials, rather the realm of relating, conversing, and story telling. I’m fascinated and appalled at the ease with which people have become slaves to devices with on/off switches – the problem is rarely using the off switch. Humans in cities, yes suburbs too – are losing the natural rhythms. Noise & light pollution contribute to stress and chronic illness. Having an unexpressed thought or action (think Facebook) is unknown to many. We’re a society of constant chewers and drinkers. My fear is that isolation from community has spread to disintegration within ourselves. The key is Mindfulness …

    1. Thank you for your comment. You and I could probably have quite the conversation. There’s so much in what you said that I identify with, as well. Disconnection, lack of community, devices beeping all day long. It’s ironic, isn’t it, that the Internet, which is supposed to connect us (via a net or web), is the very thing that keeps us in our rooms. (And here I am sitting in my dining room, doing just that!). We long for connection. Personally, I long to get out of this harsh urban world, to remember that I’m a human, that there is dirt under my feet.

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